Reports from Spain say Real Madrid could be expelled from the Copa del Rey for fielding an ineligible player in Wednesday’s tie against Cadiz.
Russia winger Denis Cheryshev started in the fourth-round tie away to Cadiz despite being suspended after picking up a third yellow card in the semi-finals of last season’s competition while on loan at Villarreal when he was booked for a third time in the 3-1 defeat to Barcelona in March, with suspensions carried over into the following season’s competition.
Cadiz have until 2pm on Thursday to lodge a complaint with the Royal Spanish Federation (RFEF) but president Manuel Vizcaino confirmed after the game his club would do so.
He said: “The circumstances require a quick decision and the Cadiz board has decided to report Madrid for fielding an ineligible player.”
Sky Sports’ Spanish football expert Guillem Balague told Sky Sports News HQ: “Denis Cheryshev was included in the line-up for the Copa del Rey match with Cadiz.
“But Cheryshev picked up a third yellow card in the second leg of the semi-finals last season while on loan at Villarreal, against Barcelona. That meant that he had a one-match suspension.
“After about two or three minutes into the game, Spanish radio gave the exclusive that actually he shouldn’t have played – and that is the case.
“The Cadiz fans have had a lot of fun over the last hour or so, chanting things like ‘Benitez, have a look at Twitter’, because what that means is that Real Madrid will be kicked out of the competition.
“The same thing happened to Osasuna in September, for fielding an ineligible player. They were kicked out of the competition as well.”
Rafa Benitez is unlikely to be blamed for the incident, after being backed by Real president Florentino Perez earlier this month, with official responsibility for suspension awareness resting on the shoulders of the match delegate.